Ron King and Dean VanTrease Honored at TCC Vision Dinner

VISIONARIES: Education and business leaders at the TCC Vision Dinner included, from left, Thomas McKeon, TCC president and chief executive officer; Ron King, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Vision Award recipient; David Kyle, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ONEOK Inc.; Dean VanTrease, president emeritus of TCC and Stephen J. Jatras Award recipient; Steven Hendrickson, director of Strategic Planning & Communications for The Boeing Company; and Henry Primeaux, Bristow Crown Auto World owner and TCC Foundation Chairperson.

GTR Newspapers photo

Reminiscing about a McAlester elementary school teacher who helped cultivate his love for education, Governor George Nigh, master of ceremonies for the recent Vision in Education Leadership Dinner sponsored by the Tulsa Community College Foundation, implored more than 300 guests in attendance to “pass on” their love for knowledge and education to others they encounter.

Clearly, the Vision Dinner award recipients—Ron King, chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, and Dean VanTrease, Ph.D., president emeritus of TCC—were honored for having passed on their enthusiasm for education to hundreds of employees, faculty, staff, and students.

King received the Vision Award for his work in advancing higher education in the Tulsa area and his work on Vision 2025. Former chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, King is chairman of the Oklahoma Caring Program for Children and serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals and Research Institute for Economic Development. Bill Derrevere, assistant professor of art at TCC, designed the Vision Award.

King understands the importance of community colleges, having earned an associate of arts degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. He has been active in Phi Theta Kappa, the national academic honorary for two-year colleges, and was selected for Who’s Who in American Junior Colleges. He has a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Oklahoma State University-Stillwater and serves on the OSU-Tulsa President’s Council.

VanTrease received the Stephen J. Jatras Award, which honors the former Telex Chairman and TCC Regent and benefactor. VanTrease served in a leadership role at TCC for 34 years, including the final 15 years as president and chief executive officer.

Under VanTrease’s leadership, TCC established a national reputation for global education and international languages and health and business career programs, developed innovative curriculum delivery systems to increase access for working adults and traditional students, and has become the provider of the first two years of public higher education in the Tulsa area. TCC is also a regional leader in performing arts education.

Lauren Brookey, vice president for external affairs for TCC, announced that $350,000 had been raised by the TCC Foundation Lectureship Initiative for nine new lectureships and a new professorship. The sum will be matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, resulting in $700,000 in new endowments for TCC—the largest successful fund-raising campaign in TCC Foundation history.

Among the lectureship contributors are the Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, MidFirst Bank, J. P. Morgan Chase (formerly Bank One), Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Unit Corporation, VanTrease, and the Walton Family Foundation.

David Kyle, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ONEOK Inc. and the Vision Dinner Honorary Chair, introduced King.

Henry Primeaux, chairman of the TCC Foundation, and Thomas McKeon, Ed. D., president and chief executive officer of TCC, presented VanTrease the Jatras Award.

Steven Hendrickson, trustee of the TCC Foundation, was Vision Dinner chairman. Other committee members were Brookey, Susie Brown, Brian Forbes, Jenna Grant, Nancy Inglett, Suzanne Kneale, Jane and Henry Primeaux, Mary Shaw, and Ann Wadlington.

Two special guests of TCC were George Warde, a founding TCC regent and former president and board member of Airbus Industries-North America, American Airlines, and Continental Airlines, and Charles Schnake, chairman emeritus of Schnake, Turnbo, and Frank. Schnake has provided public relations counsel to the college for the past 34 years.

Members of the Oklahoma Legislature present were State Senator Charles Ford and State Representatives Dennis Adkins, Lucky Lamons, Ron Peterson, and Larry Rice. County Commissioner Bob Dick, former Jatras Award winner, was also present.

Other education leaders present were Paul Risser, State Regents chancellor; Ike Glass, State Regents board member; David Schmidly, president of OSU-Stillwater; Gary Trennepohl, president of OSU-Tulsa; James Halligan, president emeritus of OSU-Stillwater and co-recipient of the 2003 Vision Award; Ken Levit, president of University of Oklahoma-Tulsa; Lori Santiago, vice president for University of Phoenix in Oklahoma; Steadman Upham, president of the University of Tulsa; Jesse Jones, executive director of the North Texas Consortium for Community Colleges; Ron Russell, associate superintendent of Tulsa Technology Center; Ruth Ann Fate, Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education member; and David Sawyer, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent.

Updated 11-12-2004

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